Lovekraft’s classic horror with an Asian influence. Uzumaki is one of the masterpieces of Junji ito’s manga and will soon have his own miniseries!
As a cartoon designer, it’s easy to forgive you if you think this is another one of those prequels or OWAs about Konoha ninja’s rich history, but that’s a whole different matter. Junji Ito’s child comes to life in the canvas adaptation of his 20-year-old horrormanga Uzumaki, made in a four-part mini-series for Adult Swim. Ito is known for his work in credits like Tomi and Go, although many of his works are more like short stories like Slug Girl and Glyceride. For those who don’t know Junji Ito: His works are painted and drawn in black and white ink and can be frightening enough to cause nightmares. For those who are already familiar with his work, this adaptation can be greeted with some fear.
Is this good?
Spiral, spiral everywhere…
Although one must be discreet at this point before one sees it, there are indications that this particular anime miniseries are closer to what Ito expects when his creations are animated. One of his first works, Tomie (The Story of the Succubus), was adapted live and in animation form, but the result was mixed, even by his manga fans. One of the reasons for this warm reception is the addition of colour in the anime. Ito Manga’s hard black and white palette gives the printed page a sense of restrained terror. This is what unfortunately was lost when Tomi was adapted for television. Even the bizarre corners of the manga would be difficult to reproduce without an experienced director at the helm, and Ito has been strongly opposed to Uzumaki’s filming for years.
What has changed?
The adult swimmer signed Hiroshi Nagagama for the role of the director, but Ito would have been happy and started the adaptation. Nagagama is known for his work on earlier names, such as Flowers of Evil and Mushi-shi. An anime critic has pointed out that the real mix of Nagahama and surrealism is more like manga than other styles of staging. It was this brilliant recommendation that most likely led Ito to decide to continue working on the title.
What about Uzumaki?
It’s scarier than it looks.
Uzumaki Ito is located in a city called Kurozu-cho (Black Spiral City), where a sudden influx of strange and crazy events often begins. Everywhere in the city spirals appear, first in the open air and then, alarmingly enough, on human bodies. In the course of history we begin to understand that something has happened in the city and that unspeakable horrors are beginning to happen. For this background of love stories, we find Kirie Goshima and his friend Shuichi Saito trying to find out what’s going on with Kurozu-cho, and if there’s a way to stop it, they try to prevent it from spiralling all the time. Uzumaki’s compelling character has included him in several major manga horror lists.
Why are we looking to the future?
If the idea of the animated Uzumaki is a bit disturbing because of Tomie’s memories of the adaptation, manga fans can take this idea to heart. It is said that Uzumaki will be fully animated in black and white to maintain the style and tone of the original manga! In addition, the miniseries contain the score by Colin Stetson, the composer of Ghosts for Ari Aster’s Heir. If you are a fan of horror cartoons or horror in general, this may be just what you need to scratch that itch. You just have to be careful to avoid these spirals…
Date of issue
The final release dates are still unclear. The studio has confirmed that it will be released in the year 2020.
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